updated 9/15/2004 12:21:49 PM ET 2004-09-15T16:21:49

Three decapitated bodies were found north of Baghdad on Wednesday and are believed to be the corpses of foreigners, Iraqi security forces said.

Meantime, a Turkish man taken hostage in Iraq has been freed, according to a videotape obtained by Associated Press Television News.

The Iraqi police said tattoos on the decapitated bodies, all believed to be male, appeared to be written in Arabic and Turkish. It said their heads had been strapped to their backs. The bodies were in nylon bags, the police said.

There were no documents on the bodies discovered on the road near Dijiel, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, said Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman of the Interior Ministry.

No further information on the identities of the bodies was available.

Video shows freed Turkish hostage
The video of the freed Turkish hostage surfaced a day after a militant group said in a separate video that it would free Aytulla Gezmen, who the militants had accused of working for the Americans. It threatened to behead all those who deal with coalition forces here.

Aytullah Gezmen, a Turkish citizen, was released by his kidnappers on Wednesday.
"Today the Mujahedeen released me and I will go to the embassy," said the man identified as Gezmen. He was shown standing next to a masked man before getting into a car.

It was not immediately clear where the release of the Arabic language translator took place.

"The Shura Council of the Mujahedeen decided to release the Turkish hostage after he has converted to Islam and has repented for working with the infidel American occupation forces," a masked man said in a statement read out on Tuesday's tape.

"We warn the Turkish government against pushing its citizens to work with the infidel occupation forces," the man said. "We will sever the head of all those who deal with the infidel occupation forces."

It showed five masked men, some holding guns, standing behind the apparent hostage. A sixth man squatted next to the hostage who was sitting, cross-legged on the floor and holding his passport opened to the photo page.

Turks warned against working for Americans
In Wednesday's tape, he warned Turks to keep away from U.S. forces.

"The Turkish people should not work with the Americans," he said. The man standing next to him made no comment.

Gezmen said in the earlier video that he had been working with the U.S. forces for seven months, adding that after his kidnapping he started to pray, read the Quran and converted to Islam. "I bear witness that there's no God but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's messenger," he said, repeating the Muslim declaration of faith.

The statement Tuesday said the release came in recognition of "the stance of the Turkish people and its support to the city of Tal Afar."

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has warned American officials that Ankara would stop cooperating in Iraq if U.S. forces continued to harm the Turkish minority in the country's north. Tal Afar is a center for Iraq's ethnic Turks and has been besieged by U.S. and Iraqi forces.

The siege was lifted on Tuesday.

Huseyin Gezmen, Aytullah Gezmen's brother, told Turkey's Anatolia news agency that Gezmen called the family in the southern city of Iskenderun and was expected to return home in two days.

"We heard his voice for the first time in 52 days. We spoke to him on the telephone. My brother is back from the dead. He's at the embassy in Baghdad. He said he'll be home in two days," Huseyin Gezmen was quoted as saying.

"We will sacrifice an animal for my brother," he said. "My brother will definitely never go back to Iraq."

Jordanian truck driver reportedly held hostage
On Tuesday, the Arab television network Al-Jazeera broadcast footage of a Jordanian truck driver purportedly taken hostage in Iraq.

The footage shown on Al-Jazeera showed three masked men standing behind the kneeling hostage, who held his passport in front of him.

The group, which called itself Brigades of Al-Tawhid Lions, gave the man’s employer 48 hours to suspend its activities in Iraq. The man’s employer was not named.

The footage was broadcast a day after insurgents warned Jordanian truckers that they would be killed if they entered Iraq. The Islamic Army in Iraq accused Jordanian drivers of transporting supplies to American forces.

“We tell all those who do not abide by this statement ... that your only punishment will be death,” said the leaflets distributed by masked gunmen in the western city of Ramadi.

But the family of the truck driver, who was identified in the video as Turki Simer Khalifeh al-Breizat, said they had no confirmation of his abduction.

Al-Breizat left for Iraq on Sept. 2, according to a cousin who identified herself as Umm Yousef.

He last contacted the family a week ago, Umm Yousef said, speaking by phone from Madaba, Jordan.

“His cell phone went dead completely” on Sept. 7, she said.

Al-Breizat worked for a Jordanian firm that trades with Iraq, but she had no other information on the company.

Italy appeals for release of aid workers
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini appealed on an Arabic TV station to the human values found in all religions for the release of two aid workers abducted in Iraq. Frattini was in the Emirates on the second leg of a Persian Gulf tour aimed at securing the release of two Italian aid workers and two Iraqis working with them who were seized Sept. 7.

Militants waging a 16-month insurgency increasingly have turned to kidnapping to force coalition forces and contractors from the country. More than 100 foreigners, including at least 12 Jordanians, have been abducted since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003; many of them have been executed.

In July, Iraq agreed in principle to provide protection to Jordanian trucks by having armed guards accompany convoys of Jordanian vehicles on its soil.

The Jordanian government also has said it was assessing the possibility of having Jordanian trucks unload at the border, where Iraqi trucks would then ferry the imported commodities onward.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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